While every house is unique, they can share some common issues. Experienced home inspectors have encountered most, if not all, of these during their careers:
Drainage back towards the house – If the ground slopes back towards the house, any water will pool up at the foundation, causing mold and structural issues.
Stucco – Properly applied, stucco should last a lifetime. However, improperly applied or cracked stucco can let water in.
Roofing – A roof that has not been maintained or that has had improper repairs done can leak. Even if you can’t see it in the ceiling, the rafters and trusses could be rotting or molding.
Style vs. material – Inconsistency with the architectural style of the home and the materials used can indicate substandard workmanship and may also be below code. An addition that doesn’t fit the look of the rest of the house should be inspected very carefully.
Condition of the electrical system – It isn’t uncommon for older homes to have fewer electrical outlets than newer homes. This is because of the prevalence of electronics in our lives today. As a result, older homes may have extension cords running from room to room or may have additional outlets installed, whether properly or not. Improperly installed outlets are not only a fire hazard, but unless the whole electrical system has been upgraded to handle the increased load, you can look forward to problems at the breaker box. Also, exposed wire is prone to damage and constitutes a hazard both for fire and electrocution. Any electrical repairs should be handled by a licensed electrician.
HVAC installations – Some people believe that buying a large heating or air conditioning unit means they’ll be able to easily heat or cool their home. The fact is that an HVAC unit that is too large can be as draining on your bank account as one that is too small. An inspector will let you know if the HVAC is the proper size for the house. Improper installations, poor maintenance, and old components are also spots that can wind up costing you a lot of money.
Insulation/Ventilation – Inadequate insulation for your region and poor ventilation can drive up energy costs. It can also severely affect how comfortable you will be in the house.
Exterior cracks – Cracks and leaks at windows and other exterior areas of the house can allow water into your walls. This will promote the growth of mold inside your walls.
Minor structural damage – Especially in an older house, minor structural damage can go undetected for years. One of the most common things to find is a broken truss. While a single broken truss is not a cause for immediate concern, it will have to be replaced at the earliest possible convenience.
Poor maintenance – This is something to look for even in houses not described as “fixer-uppers.” Any house can become damaged simply through occupancy. “It’s not the years, it’s the miles,” goes an old saying. A 100-year-old house that has been meticulously maintained will be in better shape than a 10-year-old house that has been neglected.
Environmental hazards – Mold, asbestos, and other hazards could be found during an inspection. If so, ask your inspector about a complete environmental evaluation for your home.
Historical Issues in Homes
Some issues are more common than others depending on when your house was built. If you house has any of these and they haven’t been a problem yet, it could just be a matter of time:
1900-1950: The old knob and tube wiring has fuses and fuse boxes. While certainly classic-looking, they are not considered capable of handling modern electrical loads.
1930-1950: Homes built during this period might have included insulation with asbestos. This could be considered toxic to your family, so you need to have the insulation tested and removed if needed.
1942-1958: During World War 2, iron was going to the war effort. This made civilian construction developers have to use other materials. Orangeberg sewer piping, made out of papier mache, was the solution. If your house was built during this time, have a sewer pipe camera sent down to inspect it. If it hasn’t failed yet, it’s probably going to soon.
Pre-1978: Before 1978, many homes’ walls were covered in lead-based paints. If you buy a home that was built before this year and not updated, you should have the paint tested and corrected if needed. It could be toxic to your family otherwise.
1984-1990: During these years, defective ABS was made by five manufacturers. It was made of recycled plastic and would crack at the joints.
1990-2000: Consolidated Industries (now bankrupt) produced a line of NOx rod furnaces with faulty heat exchangers. Not only could these release carbon monoxide into your house, but they are a fire hazard. Though the units were recalled, not all were sent back.
If you’re not sure when your house was built, numerous real estate websites sometimes have that information. Also, a simple title check through your local city hall can give you all such public information.
The Kruschkas are long-term Prince William County residents with more than 30 years experience as real estate professionals serving Woodbridge, Manassas, Dumfries, Manassas Park, Bristow, Brentsville, Gainesville and Haymarket
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The text in this post was copied from a post by Home Advisor